The World Health Organization (WHO) has told India Today that it has not been approached by the Indian government regarding the alleged diversion of rapid antibody test kits, meant for India to the USA.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Shanmugam had said that there was a delay in receiving the rapid antibody test kits ordered by Tamil Nadu because the consignment, meant for India was diverted to the United States by China.
Responding to India Today TV’s question, WHO Executive Director Dr Mike Ryan said, “To my knowledge, we have received no such communication on this incident, but there is, in general, a lot of pressure on supplies of diagnostics. It is important that everyone remains disciplined.”
The WHO representative said that they have been working with other agencies within the United Nations and other multilateral groups to create a global supply chain of essentials in order to distribute them in a more equitable way but admitted that “it in no way can fix the America problem”.
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Dr Ryan stressed on the US situation by saying, “We can’t allow America, which is already failing to fail entirely.”
The WHO top brass admitted the problem of a global shortage of testing kits and said that while it has been taking some steps in this regard, it can not solve the problem.
Asked about the role that global health body could possibly play in such a situation, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanam told India Today TV, “Tere is a general shortage, that’s why we are working with the private sector and International Chamber of Commerce to increase production, address the cross border trade and for equitable distribution of these devices.”
Dr Tedros, however, admitted that even these steps may not solve the entire problem.
India had placed an order of 5 lakh rapid antibody test kits with a Chinese firm on March 28 and was expecting delivery by the second week of April but the consignment is yet to arrive.
Earlier the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that it is not aware of the exact status of consignments. “We don’t keep the commercial data, ICMR doesn’t know which consignment has gone from where to where,” Dr Raman Gangakhedkar told reporters in New Delhi.
Source: India Today